Reds rumors: Don’t overreact if Nick Castellanos opts out of his contract

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 14: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 14: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

While we don’t often see Reds rumors in August, news broke yesterday that Nick Castellanos is likely to opt out of his contract after the season. The Cincinnati Reds prized free agent signing during the 2020 offseason has the ability to opt out of the remaining two years on his contract following the 2021 season.

MLB insider Jon Heyman posted a message to his Twitter feed on Tuesday saying that Castellanos is likely to opt out of the final two years of his contract, effectively leaving $34M on the table. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, and frankly, I’d be shocked if the 29-year-old didn’t opt out of his contract.

Few players in Major League Baseball were hotter than Nick Castellanos during the early-going of the 2021 season. In fact, there was a time when the Florida native was one of the leading candidates to take home the NL MVP. Seeing as how he leads the league in batting average and is 4th in OPS, perhaps Castellanos should still be in the running for the award.

Reds rumors suggesting Nick Castellanos will opt out shouldn’t be surprising.

The Reds signed Nick Castellanos prior to the 2020 season. Castellanos’ deal had some interesting details, with chief among them being his ability to opt out of the four-year contract following the 2020 and the 2021 season.

Honestly, Castellanos would be foolish not to opt out of his current contract after the 2021 season. The slugger will enter the free agent market as the unquestioned best outfielder among a group that includes, as Heyman points out, the likes of Michael Conforto, Starling Marte, and Kyle Schwarber.

Unlike the 2019-2020 offseason, when Castellanos was one of the last big-name free agents to receive a contract, the former Detroit Tiger will be among the first off the board this winter. MLB Trade Rumors ranks Castellanos as the 10th best free agent available this offseason.

While you or I may look at what Castellanos is potentially leaving behind ($34M) as more than enough money, what he can gather on the open market is considerably more. While the average annual value of $17M may not change much, the length of the contract sure will.

Last offseason, Marcell Ozuna, riding the wave a fantastic 2020 campaign, secured a four-year/$65M contract with a $16M team-option for the 2025 season. Castellanos can expect to sign something similar this winter, and rather than entering his age 32 season as a free agent, he could be smack-dab in the middle of a long-term contract.

What this boils down is not whether or not Nick Castellanos opts out of his current contract, but whether or not the Cincinnati Reds decide to re-sign him beyond this season. If the AAV is close to what Castellanos is seeking, and all it will take is longer commitment on the part of the Reds’ brass, sign me up.

These latest Reds rumors should not come as a surprise at all. In fact, the conversation should shift from will Castellanos opt out to will Cincinnati spend the money necessary to re-sign him.

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Castellanos has said time and time again that he wants to win. If the Cincinnati Reds are as serious about winning as Nick Castellanos then Nick Krall and the front office will shell out whatever it takes to keep the All-Star in the Queen City.